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CPL » Human Factors » Environmental Hazards

34.36 Environmental Hazards

Toxic Hazards in Aviation

Virtually all aircraft are directly associated with some form of substance which is in some way toxic to the human body.

Obvious examples are petrol, various oils, kerosene and exhaust gases that, if absorbed into the body will cause harm.

The most common ways in which substances are absorbed are through the lungs, the skin and occasionally the digestive tract, and the eyes.


34.36.2 Describe the symptoms, effects and immediate treatments for the following hazards present in the aviation environment:

(a) carbon monoxide

Engine exhaust gases contain carbon monoxide which is a colourless, odourless, and tasteless, but highly toxic gas and is a potential hazard in piston engine aircraft which sometimes use exhaust system heat exchangers (mufflers). 

Use of these heaters while exhaust fumes are escaping through maniofld cracks and seals is repsonsible for nonfatal and fatal aircraft accidents from carbon monoxide poisoning.

A pilot should suspect carbon monoxide poisoning if they detect the odour of exhaust or experience symptoms of:

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